Crime Watch Daily has a big update on the hunt for a Long Island serial killer. As many as 17 people are dead and the mystery surrounding the suspect or suspects even has the police divided.
Now there are new autopsy results in the death of 24-year-old Shannan Gilbert, one of the key victims found on Gilgo Beach, Long Island.
"The autopsy findings are consistent with homicidal strangulation," said Gilbert family attorney John Ray.
That claim flies in the face of the findings of the Suffolk County Police Department. When Crime Watch Daily first told you about this story, cops believed Gilbert drowned accidentally in a drug-induced haze.
"The theory that Shannan used cocaine, became confused, tripped, fell, drowned, and meanwhile her jeans were somehow pulled off by the bramble bushes is the theory of the Suffolk County Police Department," said John Ray. "It's an absurd theory."
Gilbert disappeared near Gilgo Beach in Long Island, New York in the late-night hours of May 1, 2010, after leaving a date with a man who has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the case.
Police looking for Gilbert found a mass grave of 10 brutally strangled young women scattered in the scrub brush of the sand dunes surrounding Gilgo Beach.
Suffolk County Police say they could be the result of several unrelated killings. Others close to the investigation believe it is more likely the work of a single serial killer who may also be responsible for seven other murdered women whose bodies were found in Gilgo Beach over the past 20 years.
Shannan Gilbert's decomposed body was one of the last discovered, a full 18 months after her disappearance.
Now, high-profile coroner and former New York City Medical Examiner Michael Baden has released his new autopsy report. And his findings, announced by Gilbert family attorney John Ray, show the cause of death is undetermined, but that drowning is unlikely.
Baden's report finds Gilbert's larynx was missing, along with parts of her hyoid bone, which is just under the tongue. Baden says that indicates her death was not an accident, and believes it was caused by violent force to her neck.
"At the center of the bone there was a hole, as if something had been drilled right through or poked right through the center of the bone, something that is highly unusual," said Ray. "The bone was not naturally debilitated by an animal."
Baden also writes in his report: "There is no evidence that she died of a natural disease, of a drug overdose, or of drowning."
Attorney John Ray says Baden's new autopsy report raises new theories about how Gilbert died, and should lead police back to once again question Dr. Peter Hackett, a retired doctor for the Suffolk County Police. Gilbert's remains were found not far from his house.
Gilbert's mother Mari claims Hackett inserted himself into the middle of mystery, by calling her out of the blue two days after Shannan went missing.
"He said 'My name is Dr. Peter Hackett. I'm calling to see if your daughter Shannan is there,' and I said 'No, why, who are you?' And he said that he ran a wayward house for girls, Shannan was there, she was upset," said Mari Gilbert. "He'd given her some medication to calm her down, and he was worried about her -- is she home?"
Hackett vehemently denies the claims.
Suffolk County Police have never named Dr. Peter Hackett a suspect, but attorney John Ray says they need to take another look.
"The Suffolk County Police apparently say he's not a suspect, they say that he's an exaggerator, he likes to put himself in the middle of things, but he's otherwise harmless," said Ray. "And from the facts that I have, that is dramatically untrue."
And Ray is hoping police will get more answers out of him.